A GQ roundtable is Matthew Weiner, Vince Gilligan and David Milch.
GQ: What’s the opposite? What makes a toxic writers’ room?
Matthew Weiner: People fighting for control. People fighting for Daddy’s attention. I write about it all the time. We have that scene in the episode “The Suitcase” with Don yelling at Peggy for complaining about not getting enough credit. I tried to explain to people that I was both of those people.
GQ: I thought that scene was specifically about the question of putting your name on so many Mad Men scripts, which has been somewhat controversial.
Matthew Weiner: I don’t know why anyone would want their name on something that they didn’t write. I don’t want to discredit somebody for taking the first swing at something, because that’s huge. Even if I throw out the whole thing, they’ve helped me. But over 80 percent of it is rewriting and I’m going to put my name on it. If I keep more than 20 percent of your script, I’ll leave your name alone. Basically, it’s a question of ego. I can’t stomach the idea of someone not knowing that I was involved in it. For the well-being of my daily interaction with the people I work with, I felt it best not to have to watch somebody go up and get an award for something I had written every word of. I’m not Cyrano de Bergerac.